Colin Farrell lends star power to help out parents of children with special needs
ACTOR Colin Farrell wants to see more help for the parents of children with special needs.
The 'In Bruges' star, whose 10-year-old son James has Angelman Syndrome – a genetic disorder that can impair movement, balance and speech – said he was "baffled" why there wasn't more state funding for support groups.
The Hollywood star also hit out at a system that "tries to get away with offering as little as possible" to help families.
Farrell, who's filming his latest movie 'The Lobster' in Co Kerry, took time out last weekend to visit Home from Home – a Ballydowney, Killarney, facility that provides essential services to children with special needs.
Farrell said he found Home from Home incredibly inspiring and he felt there should be one of them in every small town.
He told The Keryyman newspaper he wanted to do "something small" by calling in and meeting the children, their parents and staff.
The actor said that looking after someone with special needs was "an honour" but sometimes parents also needed a break.
"To have two or three hours where you can bring your child to a safe place where they will be cared for, allowing a mum to be able to lie down for an hour or watch TV. It doesn't sound like much but it can mean the world."
He said he was lucky to be able to provide the care his son needed but he knew plenty of people who were relying on state support.
Farrell said being in a place like Home from Home "neutralised" any ideas of celebrity, but he was happy to use one of its benefits to raise awareness.
Manager of Home from Home Helena Fox said that getting funding was always difficult. "Our staffing costs are high, as you can imagine with a one-to-one service, but we can only charge families so much," she said.
"If we are to survive, we have to make enough money to subsidise the service we offer but things at the centre are extremely financially tight at the moment and we don't want to lose it."